|Tue 18th December 2018||
Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [Lords]
2nd reading: House of Commons
Money resolution: House of Commons
Programme motion: House of Commons
Ways and Means resolution: House of Commons
|3 interactions (670 words)|
Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [Lords] DebateFull Debate: Read Full Debate
Anne-Marie TrevelyanMain Page: Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Conservative) - Berwick-upon-Tweed)
Department Debates - View all Anne-Marie Trevelyan's debates with the Department of Health and Social Care
Legislation Debates - View all Anne-Marie Trevelyan's contributions to the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019
(1 year, 9 months ago)Commons Chamber
I must now introduce a six-minute limit on speeches.
First, I declare my interest as chair of the all-party group on social work. This very Bill was the subject of our most recent meeting, when we heard from those working in this sector. These are no doubt some of the most important issues we could be debating and legislating on, and judging by the attendance at the all-party group meeting, it could not be more important to the policy makers and professionals in the field. This legislation governs the rights of individuals and the people who can deprive them of one of their most basic fundamental rights—freedom.
Some of the people attending the all-party group felt the Bill had made some progress with the amendments in the House of Lords, but it is fair to say that the Bill is simply not yet good enough. I really think that the Government need to pause, think again about the implications of the plans that Ministers are putting before us today, listen to the countless charities, other organisations and professionals that work with the legislation every day and then come back with a Bill that is fit for purpose.
This cannot and must not be a basic political argument between the Government and the Opposition; it is a debate between law makers and the people, some of whom at a particular time in their life can be subject to some of the most restrictive legislation we have. It saddens me that this could be another Government measure to cut the costs of associated assessments under the current Act.
There is a wealth of briefing material, from organisations as diverse as the Law Society and the Royal College of Nursing, outlining concerns that need to be discussed and addressed through the legislation. There are serious issues with potential conflicts of interest, but I think the Minister knows that. Imagine a scenario in which a care home manager is making a decision on someone’s life but has a financial interest in making a judgment either way. The Royal College of Nursing shares my concerns on this. Care home managers may feel under pressure in their workplace, meaning that they may make decisions that are not always in the best interests of the person they are caring for. There should not be any vested interest—only an interest in the wellbeing and freedom of the person concerned. Issues have already been raised about private hospitals. A private hospital could authorise deprivation of liberty, knowing that it would benefit financially from that. I know that the vast majority of people are honest and work in the best interests of those they care for, but such judgments should be made by a genuinely independent person.
My hon. Friend the Member for Swansea West (Geraint Davies) mentioned the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. There is a real and genuine risk that people may be wrongly deemed to lack mental capacity because any communication needs they have are not properly recognised. Nothing short of full staff training on communication needs—for everyone in the system—would be satisfactory as a measure to ensure that people are being assessed correctly and that any additional needs are addressed.